F1 calendar likely to shift towards race rotation from 2026

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F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has hinted that Formula 1 is poised for a potential shakeup in the European leg of its calendar starting in 2026, with the introduction of rotating venues.

Such a change has been often debated in the past, but a convergence of contract expirations in 2025 for five European races - Imola, Monaco, Spa, Zandvoort and Monza – will likely see rotation become a reality.

The shift would also come amidst a trend by F1 of securing long-term contracts for races outside of Europe.

In 2026, Madrid is set to replace Barcelona as Spain’s official Grand Prix, although the Circuit de Catalunya apparently still holds a contract for that year according to Motorsport.com.

Events such as the Dutch and Belgian Grands Prix are prime candidates to be paired for a rotation. But interestingly, such an alternation would drop the tally of rounds back to 23, thus freeing up a slot which could potentially be filled by Barcelona should it choose remain on the docket or by a new destination.

"That is a year where there will be a lot of grands prix, mainly in Europe, where we have different options that we can take," said Domenicali, when asked about F1’s 2026 calendar.

"I think Madrid shows one thing that was very important for us, to see that the attention of F1 is there, also in the old continent, where everyone was thinking, 'Oh, you know, we need to move out of Europe, because there's not anymore the interest.' But we showed the opposite."

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Hinting at a rotation, Domenicali said: “I think in '26, you're going to see something interesting. We are discussing with other promoters in Europe to do something that will be announced soon.

"But Madrid will be a big boost. Because the event will be organised in a place where we'll be around the convention area to allow the opportunity for fans to live that event in an incredible way.

"But the focus in Spain is in Barcelona. There is a big commitment to do a great grand prix there in the next couple of years."

Addressing the recent trend of long-term contracts being signed with race promoters, Domenicali emphasizing that these deals go beyond securing consistent revenue, highlighting not only their stability but also F1’s ability to nurture and develop these events over time.

I think as always when we take the decision with regard to the renewal, there are a lot of elements that we need to consider," he said. "First of all, of course, the financial aspect is relevant, no doubt.

"And the fact that we are able to stabilise with certain promoters, which we believe represent incredible opportunities, in terms of our stability in these markets, is a relevant element to consider.

"The fact that you have seen in the last couple of years that we were able to ratify incredible agreements with certain promoters means that is, from one side, of course, a very interesting financial package.

"But on the other side, an incredible opportunity to develop our business in other areas that are on top of the one that is related to the promotional fee. And that's really our approach."

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